Canberra Raiders building partnership with Group 16 and CRL.

Exciting visit: Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner will visit the Bega Valley next week to talk NRL exhibition games and upgrades to facilities.
Exciting visit: Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner will visit the Bega Valley next week to talk NRL exhibition games and upgrades to facilities.

The Canberra Raiders are looking to build their influence on the Far South Coast. 

With proposed upgrades to Bega and Pambula sporting grounds, Raiders CEO Don Furner will meet with council and Andrew Constance next week to discuss returning NRL exhibition games to the area. 

"We would like to do more in the area," Mr Furner said. "We'd be working with Group 16 and the Country Rugby League, but could maybe commit to a match every second year."

He said the Raiders had been included as a potential stakeholder in the proposed upgrades to the Bega Recreation Ground, while the club themselves were also looking to expand with a proposed "Centre of Excellence" building. 

Mr Furner said the Raiders were looking to provide even more pathways for rising young players to develop, while building a partnership with regional areas. 

"Our centre could be a hub for the region to offer country kids the same opportunities and camps as those in the big cities," he said. 

"We don't see the border between the ACT and the surrounding areas.

"We find country players have a good work ethic, we're a smaller city and find they fit in well, it's not a massive change and it's easier for the parents to visit here in Canberra than say up in Sydney."

Mr Furner said the Raiders were eager to have more influence for players coming out of the Far South Coast, Cooma and areas like Wagga Wagga.

And following Wednesday's announcement from NRL CEO Todd Greenberg about the launch of a women’s draw, a key discussion is also a push for a women's team. 

"Our ultimate goal is all about providing the best practice facilities and the topic at the moment is a women's team," Mr Furner said. 

"If we've got the top notch facilities we would be able to host women's teams [and apply to join the new NRL draw]."

He said the club would be looking to build a partnership of sorts with Group 16 and provide opportunities for rising players, while also bringing the excitement of headline matches back to the region. 

The club already provides $10,000 for the Indigenous v All Star jerseys and has commited again for 2018, but will look to greater involvement in the area. 

"We'll commit the support and trial games there and the region can support our centre and come here rather than having to go to Sydney."